Some CNN Staffers Want Don Lemon Fired After His Sexist Comments
Don Lemon sparked outrage with his comments about Republican politician Nikki Haley this week, and some colleagues reportedly think there should be consequences. When Haley called for "mental competency" tests for elderly politicians, Lemon said that she is not "in her prime," which many critics perceived as sexist and ageist. After Lemon's apology on Friday morning, some colleagues said they still believe he should be taken off the air or perhaps even fired for his remarks.
Lemon apologized for his comments about Haley on Friday morning in a conference call with the CNN editorial team, and posted a public apology on Twitter as well. Both apologies were met with more skepticism, and anonymous sources at CNN told The New York Post that they want to see more consequences. One person said: "He has got to go. He is hurting the brand. Women aren't even focused on the sexism – it's the damage to CNN."
The reference I made to a woman’s “prime” this morning was inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it. A woman’s age doesn't define her either personally or professionally. I have countless women in my life who prove that every day.— Don Lemon (@donlemon) February 16, 2023
"Everyone is pissed about it," another person reportedly said. "It makes us the story and it hurts us." Sources who had heard Lemon's apology complained that it seemed insincere, and they even theorized that he had been forced to apologize by network executives. One person said that there were too many excuses in the monologue.
"He said he was sorry two minutes into the call," they said. "It was very self-centered and he lied. It was not his idea to apologize. They made him do it."
All of this started with Haley's commentary about President Joe Biden and other elderly politicians. Haley announced that she is running for president in 2024 and seeking the Republican party's nomination, and she attacked her rivals based on their age. Implying that they might suffer from some form of dementia or senility, she proposed making "mandatory mental competency tests" a part of the election process for all candidates over the age of 75. While reporting on this on Thursday morning, Lemon noted that it was a slippery slope, and said that, by Haley's logic, she herself might come under question.
"This whole talk about age makes me uncomfortable. I think it's the wrong road to go down. She says people, you know, politicians are suddenly not in their prime. Nikki Haley isn't in her prime. Sorry, when a woman is in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s."
When Lemon's co-anchor Poppy Harlow pressed him to define what he meant by "prime," he went on: "Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just saying what the facts are. Google it. Everybody at home, when is a woman in her prime? It says 20s, 30s and 40s. I'm just saying Nikki Haley should careful about saying that politicians are not in their prime, and they need to be in their prime when they serve. She would not be in her prime according to Google, or whatever it is."
Apologizing on Friday morning, Lemon said: "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I did not mean to offend anyone. What I said came out wrong and I wish I hadn't said it. I believe women of any age can do anything they set their minds to. The people I am closest to in this organization are women. When I make a mistake, I own it, and I own this one as well. I understand why you are upset and disappointed. I was trying to make the point that no one's age should define their ambition or potential for success and I was saying those comments to Nikki Haley."0comments